Finding Cause Behind Rise of Rapes

Incidents of violence against women, particularly rape, have gone up significantly in the recent months compared to those in the previous year, according to a report of Bangladesh Mahila Parishad.

Around 942 women were raped last year. But within the last six months [January to June], the number of rapes has reached 731, said the report.

The number of violent incidents against women were 3,918 last year. Halfway through this year, the number of gender violence instances already stands at 2,083 — which is alarming, it added.

Mahila Parishad, a women’s rights organisation, prepared the report based on news published in 14 national dailies in the corresponding months. The report was unveiled at a press conference held at the organisation’s office in the capital yesterday.

Of the rape victims this year, 113 were gang-raped and 26 were murdered after rape.

At least 123 others were victims of attempted rape and 70 were harassed sexually, found the report.

It also found more than 276 women were murdered in the last six months, while 117 were physically assaulted and 63 were abducted.

The organisation observed that the culture of impunity, which has prevailed in the country over the years, is the reason behind the spike in sexual violence.

“Only three to four percent of culprits were punished so far since 2014 for carrying out violence against women. The culprits are remaining beyond reach due to such culture of impunity,” Mahila Parishad said in the report.

Speaking at the press conference, Mahila Parishad President Ayesha Khanam said the sudden rise in rapes is both surprising and alarming, which will hinder women’s progress.

“What happened in the last six months which caused the rise in rapes? What psychological change happened [in men] should be identified,” she said at the press conference.

About legal proceedings, the women’s rights activist said, “In Bangladesh, a woman or girl still needs to prove whether she was raped. But in many countries, the accused has to prove that he didn’t rape.”

Mahila Parishad demanded ensuring speedy trial of cases involving violent incidents, formulation of a separate act to prevent rape and sexual harassment, and putting a stop to providing political shelter to the culprits.

Source: The Daily Star 

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